Commodore C64


Commodore 64 Timeline

MOS completes development of the 6510 Central Processor and chip set

1981 January
MOS Engineer Albert Charpentier looks for new chip project and starts work on state-of-the-art video and sound chips for the worlds "next great video game"

1981 Spring
Charpentier recruited another MOS Engineer, Robert Yannes to assist him in figuring out how far other companies push their current technology

1981 November
First Silicon is complete
Jack Tramiel kills the "next great video game" concept and tells the engineers to make a home computer to show at CES in 6 weeks
Two days later the basic engineering layout for the 64 is complete

1981 December
5 Prototypes are assembled

1982 January
Operating System software from the VIC-20 is ported to the much more powerful C64 hardware
Commodore announces the Commodore 64 microcomputer at the Winter CES. It features a 6510 processor, 64 KB RAM, 20 KB ROM with Microsoft BASIC, custom SID sound chip, 8 sprites, 16-color graphics, 40-column screen, for US$595. It is the first personal computer with an integrated sound synthesizer chip.
Production is approved immediately after the show

1982 Spring
Minor engineering changes occur which will later cause as many problems as they resolve
Production problems, like sourcing odd parts and figuring out how to use metric screws with 'English' nuts are worked out between several worldwide plants

1982 June
Summer CES Commodore shows the 64 again but this time production is well underway

1982 August
Production is stable enough and large enough to start shipping the 64 to retailers


1983 January
Commodore shows off the 23 pound "portable" $995 SX-100 with integrates black and white 5" screen. A colour 5" screen version with two 5.25" 1541 type drives lists for $1295.
The price drops $100 as Commodore starts distributing the machines through mass marketers like Sears

1983 Spring
Nearly the whole C64 team, Al Charpentier, Robert Yannes, Charles Winterable, David Ziembeicki and Bruce Crockette, left Commodore early in 1983 and started Peripheral Visions which was quickly renamed Ensoniq (which becomes part of Creative Labs in the late 1990's).

1983 April
Commodore offers $100 rebate on 64's

1983 May
After many false starts and name changes, Commodore Business Machines ships the Executive 64 with one 1541 type 170 KB floppy and 5" colour screen for $995.
This is the worlds first portable colour computer.

1983 June
Commodore drops the dealer price of the 64 all the way down to $200

1984 January
January 13th - Commodore shows off prototype 264 and 364 at CES and indicates they should be in production by June
January 15th - Commodores founder, visionary and CEO, Jack Tramiel quits Commodore with secret plans to buy the near bankrupt Atari
Commodore shows a Golden Jubilee version of the 64 to commemorate the 1,000,000 C64 to be produced in the US
Commodore introduces the SX-64, the worlds first portable colour computer. It comes is a heafty 10.5 kg and incorporates a 5-inch color monitor and one or two 5.25 inch floppy drive all for $1600.

Commodore introduces the Educator 64. A 64 in a Commodore PET 8032 style case.

1985 January
The last Commodore VIC-20 rolls off the line
Commodore shows off the C128 Personal Computer at CES. This new machine has three modes: 64, CP/M and the new 128KB mode.

Commodore stops production of the 64 several times (presumably in favour of the much more powerful Commodore 128) but restarts the C64 line because of consumer demand.

1986 January
Germany celebrates its 1,000,000 C64 with a Golden Jubilee version
Berkley Software demonstrates GEOS for the Commodore 64 at Winter CES.
Commodore 128D's hit retail stores in Europe and North America for about $500
September - Plus/4 was in full liquidation were selling for a mere $79

1986 June
In an effort to revitalize sales, Commodore releases a sleek new 128 like case, changes the name to 64C, and bundles it with GEOS.
The Commodore 1541C is displayed at Summer CES

1987 January
Berkley Software shows off a host of applications for GEOS, including geoCalc, geoFile, and geoDex and sets them to retail at about $50 each

1987 December
Sales of the 'new' 64C 270,000 units.

1988 June
GEOS 2 for the Commodore 64 is shown at Summer CES

CMD Creative Micro Designs releases 3 hard drives for the Commodore 64: 20 MB for $600, 40 MB for $800, and a whooping 100 MB for US$1300
Commodore 64 Games System is released in Europe

Last Commodore 64 is pushed off the assembly line

Commodore goes bankrupt and the Commodore 65 prototypes and documentation are auctioned off as part of the liquidation

2003 May 15
Jeri Ellsworth has her 3 year project to develop a 100% C64 compatible machine using modern hardware is released. This project is not sanctioned by the current owners of the Commodore trademark so the machine is called the C-One.


The original C64 (1982)
The original box
The Commodore 64C
This was the first portable
color computer
The Commodore 64C (1986)

Technical Specs

CPU MOS 6502 @ 1.0227 MHz
ROM 8KB Basic, 8KB kernel
VIDEO VIC-II 6567 Chip:
Text: 40x25 chars, Graphic: Hires 320x200-1 color, Low-Res 160x200-16 color
AUDIO SID 6581 Chip:
3-Channel programmable Sound Generator (Mono)
EXTERNAL STORAGE Tapes, Floppy Discs, Cartridges
(Cartridges are used for memory expansion, programms and game programms)


 Basic Screen
Jumpman Junior (1983)
Bruce Lee (1983)

 1942 (1986)
Commando (1986)
Barbarian 2 (1988)



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